Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEOF213
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish. Norwegian if only Norwegian speaking students.
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits

10 studiepoeng

Level of Study


Teaching semester

Autumn Enrolment in this course is based on application. Application deadline is wednesday in week 33 for the autumn semester. Please see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content


The course aims to present the governing equations and their application to various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics. Topics in atmospheric sciences and oceanography are studied using theory and exercises.


Main topics are geostrophy and wind-induced Ekman currents; wave equations for gravity waves in homogeneous and stratified fluids, in the presence and absence of the Coriolis effect; quasi-geostrophic frameworks for planetary and topographic Rossby waves; and barotropic and baroclinic instability.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should demonstrate the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • understands the basic principles of large-scale motion on a rotating planet
  • understands the governing equations of various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics
  • understands the basics of waves in the atmosphere and ocean
  • understands the basics of steady state motions in the atmosphere and ocean
  • understands the basics principles of barotropic and baroclinic instability


The student

  • can scale and simplify the governing equations for solving basic dynamical problems
  • can formulate and solve problems in a geostrophic framework
  • can formulate and apply wave theory to surface and internal waves
  • can formulate and use Ekman theory to calculate responses to various scenarios of wind forcing
  • can write a lab report

General competence

The student

  • is able to discuss basic governing equations in dynamical meteorology and oceanography
  • is able to derive, scale and simplify the governing equations
  • is able to present and discuss dynamical phenonema in the atmosphere and ocean

Required Previous Knowledge

Principles of meteorology and/or oceanogarphy in addition to basic knowledge in maths and physics (mechanics) or equivalent to GEOF110 and MAT212.

This is a theoretical course which requires a solid mathematical background. To follow the course you must be familiar with (and be able to use) concepts like differential equations, partial derivatives, curl, the equation of motion in a rotating frame of reference, the Coriolis force, geostrophic flow, Ekman dynamics. You also need to have basic programming skills in e.g. Matlab, Python or similar.

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

GEOF320, GEOF326, GEOF330: 10 ECST

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a program of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be in the form of lectures and exercise sessions Lectures of 2x2 hours per week for 15 weeks One exercise session of 2 hours per week for 15 weeks

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Two compulsory assignments and weekly exercise sets must be handed in. Approved assignments are valid for the current and following semester.

Forms of Assessment

Mandatory assignments and exercise sets, count for 30% of the final grade and are valid for the current and following semester. The final exam is a 4-hour written exam, counts for 70% of the final grade, and must be passed. We add up scores from the partial assessments to determine the final grade in the xourse. All partial assessments must be passed to pass the course.

Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. A is the highest grade, E is a pass, F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Regular exams both in the spring - , and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching, the examination will be arranged early in the semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available by June 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department

Programme Committee

The Program Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study program and courses.

Course Coordinator

You will find the responsible and contact persons on «Mitt UiB», or contact studieveileder@gfi.uib.no

Course Administrator

The Faculty of mathematics and sciences by the Geophysical Institute has the administrative responsibility of the course and study program.

Contact Information

Please contact the student counselor here: studieveileder@gfi.uib.no

Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Skriftlig skoleeksamen

    09.03.2023, 16:00
    1 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam